Journalism in the Public Interest

All the Missing Horses: What Happened to the Wild Horses Tom Davis Bought From the Gov’t?

The main buyer from a federal program designed to protect wild horses is a Colorado man who advocates slaughter. He’s bought more than 1,700 since 2009, but won’t say where they are.

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Oct. 1, 2012, 9:04 a.m.

This well-researched article hammers the problem—BLM in Washington has a different agenda that is not for the welfare of these animals.  There are fewer wild horses on public land than at any time in history, they only get 2% of the allocated land for grazing (livestock get 47% and other wildlife get 51% of the allocations), and the BLM continues to round up wild horses and put them in holding, at the cost of taxpayers.  Now we see that going to holding also costs them their lives at a vicious end.  Mr. Davis is a symptom of the real problem, but for him to flaunt that he breaks the law (doesn’t everybody else?) is despicable if the BLM to continues to ignore this.

Horse Boy

Oct. 1, 2012, 3:03 p.m.

Those of you that are actually distressed by this can take Tangible Action.

Google “RICO laws”. Read about them on Wikipedia. The bottom line is: If you paid taxes you can file a RICO action based on the charges in this article and get this stopped and get the money back and pay the taxpayers back. In this recession, lawyers will do it for you at no upfront cost and for 20% of the recovery. So… You can either sit there and read the article above and go: ” that is just a darn shame!” And then go buy a Starbucks or YOU CAN GET UP AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

Dr. Brad Bergstrom

Oct. 1, 2012, 3:30 p.m.

If you don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t speak (or blog).

“Wild” horses are NOT part of the native fauna of North America.  They are the descendants of DOMESTICATED animals, now feral, released by the Spanish Conquistadors in the 1600s.  Ancestral horses did evolve in North America, but they all left or went extinct tens of thousands of years ago, and since then the plants and ecosystems have evolved without a grazing animal possessing UPPER as well as lower incisors.

They are a part of the (not so) “Old West” like gunfights at the OK Corral, and they should be allowed to pass away just the same.

Roger David

Oct. 1, 2012, 5:04 p.m.

Per the facts stated in this article, this can no longer be a BLM matter. Agency corruption has been charged publicly in this article and, per federal policy, this now makes this an FBI matter. The FBI now has an obligation to investigate both Davis AND the BLM. They may not have seen this article, yet, though. If you want to help them, email a link to this article to the Washington, DC FBI office and ask them if they have seen the article and when they intend to raid the Davis And BLM offices. Not only are horses getting violated but taxpayers are too.

Dianne Appel

Oct. 1, 2012, 7:53 p.m.

The BLM is clearly suffering under poor leadership spawned by a confused mission. If the agency knew its real purpose, there would be no problem carrying out mission-based initiatives. Fracking, drilling, grazing and hunting split hoofed wildlife (not horses) are contrary to saving wild equine herds. To root out the problem will be to redefine why BLM exists.

Jack de Golia

Oct. 2, 2012, 11:20 a.m.

The real story here is the insanity of the Wild Horse & Burro Act of 1971.  These animals aren’t “wild” like native wildlife, they’re feral, as in they don’t belong in the ecosystem.  Cattle at least are managed by ranchers.  You can argue about how well, but that’s a far better system than allowing horses and burros to trash the rangelands of the West.


Oct. 2, 2012, 2:53 p.m.

I wonder how many of these commenters are familiar with the western landscape these animals exist on?  How many of you can recognize and name even one plant, yet somehow can make proud proclamations about ecosystem managment and population dynamics. I’ve been working the western landscape for 15 years and there is nothing, (not oil and gas development, not cattle ranching, not hunting) more devastating to our natural resources than uncontrolled feral horses.  None of you even understands the deffenition of the word “wild” versus “feral”.  The BLM program is impractical in many many ways, but it is driven by the unaware, out of touch (with their ecosystem), advocate groups perpetuating their illogical value judgements (like that horses are more important than deer, elk, cattle, sage grouse, and all other native and sometimes threatened native wildlife).  The west was collonized because of cattle, driven to the western landscape in wake of a massive slaughter of native animals.  That slaughter was facilitated by horses.  Please stop jumping to accusations and hanging on old western mythology.  The reality of life is death.  And to all you vegies who love all animals…nothing has displaced wildlife more than agricultural development.  Use your shallow thinking minds and consider that for a while. Soy beans and corn have replaced more native habitat in the US than all the houses put together.


Oct. 2, 2012, 3:17 p.m.

Hey, better if you give a little supporting information.

Like, say, the individual did here:

The solution is obviously birth control for the horses…but for some reason birth control is sacrilege, while wild horses are sacred cows.


Oct. 2, 2012, 7:47 p.m.

People need to be there at gathers and auctions to make these people accountable and get the videos out to the public. This whole process needs to be shut down! It has become a way to make money while people have turned a blind eye or profited themselves.
I agree with another poster who pointed out our extermination of all predators. I would rather think of a horse meeting it’s demise quickly from a predator then the suffering they are subjected to now.
There are countless videos out for you to tweet and share with the world.
I also wondered about the removal and adoption of stallions instead of the gathering of entire herds as a last resort to slow breeding down.


Oct. 2, 2012, 8:55 p.m.

I just read this article today and am appalled at what is happening right under our noses.  I live in michigan and am wondering what I can do.  Who can I email or call or write to for changes to be made in this system?  And who re-legalized horse meat?  These magnificent creatures need someone who has their best interest at heart, not the monsters mentioned in this article.  Maybe I don’t live in that area but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that changes must be made NOW.


Oct. 2, 2012, 9:20 p.m.

I can’t see what the big deal is. Horses are just big pieces of meat surrounded by perfectly good leather unless one lives in a rich country with plenty of money to piddle away on the whims of idle hands chasing anthropomorphic fairy tales.


Oct. 2, 2012, 9:27 p.m.

If you get lucky, Itasca, you might live to see the day when human overpopulation lets you talk about other people that way, too.

Carol Ryder

Oct. 3, 2012, 10:29 a.m.

Thank you to all who took the time to shine a light on issues like this. I am setting up a non-profit with the goal of education and legislative changes needed to help critters, veterans, service members and other underdogs. I just waited for the seminar at the Suffolk County Bar Assn on setting it up and running it properly. Obviously, this problem is too big, goes up way too high and a new NP can’t take this on right now. However, we can all do our part to shine a light on these cockroaches doing this. And, of course, we can use the power of the vote AND the power of the voice-calls to our lawmakers over and over. It is election season-time to see what we can do. Even if we do something local, remember, we are still helping critters locally and, as we have seen with other laws passed in Suffolk County and other places, it spreads. Maybe because the Hamptons are here and promionent people have houses, events and summer here things spread a bit quicker. Still, never believe you can’t make a difference. I’ve seen it. For example, Suffolk has the first Animal Abuser Registry in the country (state criminal abuse laws lousy but that is another issue being worked on, so we can get perps on there). I brought clients to the voting session for that and another animal law that was supposed to be tabled (meaning, put aside because they don’t think it will pass in its current form). When the client’s little girl went up there and showed a photo of her and her now-gone dog, The bill was put back up for a vote and passed.


Oct. 3, 2012, 12:11 p.m.

Davis is getting away with murder, along with Salzar and the BLM, 2 LITTLE DIRTY MEN and the dirty blm which our GOVT allows, how sick is this. This is communist thats what it is


Oct. 3, 2012, 12:21 p.m.

Deanna you are so right,


Oct. 3, 2012, 1:22 p.m.

To all those who commented, here is an opportunity to contact the BLM directly and oppose the planned and continued roundup of even more mustangs.  Below is the link to the website where you can sign a letter of protest for these roundups in Nevada.  You can copy and past this link to get to the letter on the American Wild Horse Preservation site.

Morgaine Bergman

Oct. 3, 2012, 8:58 p.m.

My solution:

(1)  As government property, the horses belong to the public.  They should only be culled when necessary, and only by government officials.

(2) If for any reason the horses should die out, the land should immediately be converted to grazing publicly owned bison and elk.

(3)  In either case, Native American people should be invited to be stewards of these animals and should be paid a fair wage for their work.

(4)  When animals are culled, and any profit should go to maintaining the habitat and health of the surviving herds.  The meat and by-products should be packaged and offered to Native American communities and homeless shelters to help the many poor who are not on public assistance and who are unable or unfit to work.

(5)  There should be real accountability to the public for herd populations, culls, where the culled animals go and who is involved in maintaining and processing them.

Alan J. Kania

Oct. 4, 2012, 12:39 a.m.

This could have been a wonderful forum for effective civil discourse on the wild horse/burro issue and the administration of the public lands.  But ignorant comments from Jhmaguire demonstrate that the concept of civil discourse is no longer possible. It’s sad.


Oct. 4, 2012, 8 a.m.

Please take action on this issue by going to this link and sending your comments directly to the BLM.  If we are to be taken serious about our feelings on this issue, we cannot have people leaving threats or other statements that only hurt, not help the horses.


Oct. 4, 2012, 9:18 a.m.

I encourage you to watch this video and the damage caused by these roundups:

Then watch read about how the wild horses are treated and maintained at Assateague in the East…a sharp contrast to the cruelty of the West:

LynnDell Cox

Oct. 4, 2012, 8:48 p.m.

I live 15 miles from the Frisco HMA in Southern Utah and I enjoy going out into the mountains and range country and seeing these wild horses on my days off from work and they are part of my hobby to film them and study them and their habits.  I love these horses like my own horses here at home. I am doing a research paper for college concerning these horses and I am scared for these horses.
  At the end of November the BLM plans to round up 166 wild horses and turn back some but why I ask because the BLM is already complaining about places to put the horses and how to feed them, why round up that many and what will happen to them after wards? Slauughter?  What has this country come to ?  All the BLM seems to care about is cattle, mining and big money and the wild horse is the victim of their greed.  Lets help these horses some how lets get some idea’s set on paper and quit talking in circles and do some thing.  The BLM needs to start counting the cattle on these allotments they lease out because I would dare say every rancher out there is over on numbers yet they worry about the management of the Mustangs and the cattle allotments over lap with the HMA’s for the wild horses. A cattle count would be a tiny start in the right direction.  I don’t want to see these beautiful animals disappear I want them around for my grand kids to see. What about you?


Oct. 5, 2012, 12:27 p.m.

This is all very discouraging.  But we must keep plugging away, and not give up.  The Cloud Foundation and other organizations are doing a great job of educating the public and advocating for the horses.


Oct. 6, 2012, 12:23 a.m.

Dave Philipps,thank you very much.


Oct. 6, 2012, 7:56 a.m.

Commenters:  Here’s your chance to address your concerns direct with the BLM, either in person or via email, etc., when they have their advisory meeting.  Contact details below:

The Bureau of Land Management’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will meet in October in Salt Lake City to discuss issues relating to the management, protection, and control of wild horses and burros on Western public rangelands. The day-and-a-half meeting will take place on Monday, October 29, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday, October 30, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., local time.

The meeting will take place at the Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City Downtown at 215 West South Temple. The hotel phone number for reservations is 801-531-7500 or 1-800-333-3333.  The agenda of the meeting can be found in the September 24, 2012, Federal Register (
The Advisory Board provides input and advice to the BLM as it carries out its responsibilities under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The law mandates the protection, management, and control of these free-roaming animals in a manner that ensures healthy herds at levels consistent with the land’s capacity to support them.  According to the BLM’s latest official estimate, approximately 37,300 wild horses and burros roam on BLM-managed rangelands in 10 Western states.
The public may address the Advisory Board on Monday, October 29, at 3:30 p.m., local time.  Individuals who want to make a statement at the Monday meeting should register with the BLM by 2 p.m., local time, on that same day at the meeting site.  Depending on the number of speakers, the Board may limit the length of presentations, set at three minutes for previous meetings.
Speakers should submit a written copy of their statement to the BLM at the addresses below or bring a copy to the meeting.  There may be a Webcam present during the entire meeting and individual comments may be recorded.  Those who would like to comment but are unable to attend may submit a written statement to: Bureau of Land Management, National Wild Horse and Burro Program, WO-260, Attention: Ramona DeLorme, 1340 Financial Boulevard, Reno, Nevada, 89502-7147. Comments may also be e-mailed to the BLM at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) .
For additional information regarding the meeting, please contact Ramona DeLorme, Wild Horse and Burro Administrative Assistant, at 775-861-6583.  Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may reach Ms. DeLorme during normal business hours by calling the Federal Information Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.
The Advisory Board meets at least once a year and the BLM Director may call additional meetings when necessary.  Members serve without salary, but are reimbursed for travel and per diem expenses according to government travel regulations.


Oct. 8, 2012, 9:51 p.m.

I have some “issues” with this article. Although it appears well-researched and well-written, and FOR the wild horses, their are a few comments I have trouble accepting.  One is at the beginning of the article. To paraphrase: the BLM had too many wild horses and no where to put them and they would cause long-term damage to the range.  Meaning, if they were set free.  Wild horses manage the range, keeping it robust and healthy! Another problem is the author’s giving a number of wild horses on the range and the reproduction by mares, yearly. Come on!  the BLM does not take a head count.  They just helicopter round-up, in a frenzy, to take wild horses off their federally designated land and immediately move in the range damaging cattle!!! Then there is mention of the wrong info by the GAO!!  But I thank the author for relaying the Bull>>()*(&^*%$ from the BLM regarding hauler/kill buyer/Salazar friendly neighbor Davis.  Reminds me of the BLM Advisory Board meetings where all was a lying, beating-around-the-bush farce.  And here it is so obvious that the BLM is so corrupt…they don’t know the horses are going to slaughter?  Pleaseeeeee. We are the taxpaying public being duped and lied to again, as our wild ones go through the most heinous, inhumane, suffering…the horse slaughter pipeline with the utmost agony in the kill box.  This is criminal.

Raoul Diblasi

Oct. 9, 2012, 9:59 a.m.

It always strikes me when someone tries to dismiss people with compassion as being “bleeding hearts”.If caring about horses makes me a “bleeding heart” so be it.I’m in good company along with Jesus,Ghandi and Albert Schweitzer.Sooner or later if you live long enough you will find yourself helpless and at the mercy of others.When that time comes you better pray you fall under the care of people like me rather than people like yourself.

Marjorie Caruso

Oct. 9, 2012, 10:48 a.m.

Wow, it’s amazing when some speak out when they don’t even know what they are talking about.

Case in point, Mr. Jack Brown:  “But it sounds from this article that most of it gets shipped to Mexico for slaughter, ground up and probably reexported to the US for yuppies to feed to their dogs.”

No horse meat is sold in the United States for dog food because American’s will not feed their dogs horse meat!  LOL

And Ken Salazar is as corrupt as they come. Talk about letting the wolf guard the hen house.  That’s what this Administration has done.  Shame on Obama and everyone else who has allowed this atrocity to happen. 

It’s truly about time that moral American’s speak out and stop this horror.  We are losing OUR wild horses!


Oct. 9, 2012, 2:51 p.m.

I continue to wonder if Salazar was the originator of the current policy or if we are now seeing the result of plans made years ago. Several energy project agreements were made during the Bush administration that included elimination of the mustang/burro herds within the project’s local area. For example, burro herds were “zeroed out” at Clark Mountain, CA, to make way for Bright Source’s Ivanpah solar project.  I won’t elaborate on the “greenness” of a project designed to generate energy for communities far away from the source other than to question why rooftop solar in an equally sunny L.A. wasnt considered an option. The real shame here belongs to a BLM beaurocracy that didn’t give a damn about the Clark Mountain burro’s fate. For all we know, some went to the same “retirement homes” that you mentioned and have been stuffing themselves on grass. Burros are desert animals. Allowing them to graze unrestricted on rich forage kills them in the long run (google laminitis). Others we hope got homes back east. We don’t know. Rescuers begged to take the herd but were ignored. The BLM dispersed a genetically and phenotypically unique population that included pink and lavender coat colors and zebra-like leg stripes.
There has been a lot of attention given to the severe and unlawful mustang culling but less about the burros. Dave, I hope I gave you a little nudge to give the burros a chapter in your book. If you need information, I can give you some people to talk to. I would start with Wild Burro Rescue in Olancha, CA.

lesser white buffalo

Oct. 9, 2012, 7:48 p.m.

Here we have an animal that is not native, is rough on habitat and has no natural predators. There is no way that each and every one of these animals is going to find a nice home to live out it’s life in comfort.
Either we wipe them out, sterilize them, or cull them and keep it as hush hush as possible so as not to offend anyone.
I’ve owned horses and I think they can be wonderful animals and no one can deny the romantic appeal of a herd of wild horses. But if they’re not managed they’ll ruin their own environment and seal their own fate while playing hell on the land.
Tom Davis meanwhile is performing a service that most people might not have the stomach for myself included but I see few viable alternatives. I suppose they could be hunted but I’m guessing this would be even more offensive that “disappearing” them.

Carrie Lynne

Oct. 10, 2012, 10:17 p.m.

It is sickening the grotesque display of disrepect for life and the exchange of their personal integrity and dignity for a dollar. SHAME does not cover it…EVIL is what EVIL DOES! SOMEONE NEEDS to go to answer for this. Starting at the top! Responsibilty rolls “UP HILL”!


Oct. 11, 2012, 8:13 a.m.

I know the President put Salazar in his position to placate ranchers, etc, in the Western states, but Salazar is corrupt and one of the WORST Interior Secretaries ever- right up there with James Watt (heck, maybe even worse).

Those lands were set aside for HORSES, not cattle.  That doesn’t seem to register with ranchers, Salazar or his ilk.  Those horses have a right to live on those lands in peace.  Rounding them up is just wrong.  Selling them to people like Davis, who anyone with common sense would know is selling to kill buyers, is EVIL. 

There was a time when congress didn’t behave this way toward these horses and put such pressure on the BLM.  However, this Republican congress is a danger to ALL of our natural resources and the wild animals living on government lands.  They have to go—-  along with Salazar.  Vote them out of office and send President Obama a message to fire Salazar.  And if you’re thinking Romney would appoint someone better, think again.  Look at the promises he’s already made, and you’ll see someone even WORSE waiting in the wings.  Republicans NEVER saw a natural resource nor land they didn’t want to exploit, and Romney is all about making money.  Wild horses will never bring in the dollars….

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